Dolly Parton Meets Pentatonix: 6 Voices, 1 Stunning A cappella Reimagining of ‘Jolene’

August 14, 2019 Updated: August 19, 2019

Everybody knows “Jolene.” It’s the timeless, haunting ditty of a heartsick lover, and has accompanied Dolly Parton throughout her long and illustrious career. It was first written and released by the queen of country music herself in 1973 and has never fallen out of favor.

Dolly Parton in London after performing at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow, in the presence of the Queen in 1977 (©Getty Images | Keystone)

But the song has certainly been updated, and this version is nothing short of extraordinary.

At 73, not only is Dolly’s career still going strong, but the icon is in huge demand from the newest generation of singers that hold her in phenomenally high regard. Dolly is hot stuff, and so are her songs!

Dolly Parton performs at the Weinstein Co. Pre-Oscar Party in Los Angeles, 2006 (©Getty Images | Michael Buckner)

“Jolene” lent itself perfectly to the a cappella stylings of the Texas-based singing quintet Pentatonix, and Cracker Barrel united the group with their idol for a beautiful reimagining of Dolly’s original hit. In the humble setting of an intimate recording space, the six singers, united by a love of heartfelt country music, recorded “Jolene” live.

It’s like nothing a country music fan has ever heard before.

(L-R) Singers Avi Kaplan, Kirstin Maldonado, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, and Kevin Olusola of Pentatonix at the Grammy Awards in LA, 2017 (©Getty Images | Frazer Harrison)

With six voices and no instruments, the song was reworked into a spine-tingling, emotive cry straight from the hearts of the six singers who know and love this song like the backs of their hands. Jolene, the flame-haired temptress, is given new life.

Pentatonix, long vocal about their love for Dolly Parton, respectfully stood back as the 73-year-old singer’s vocals led the way. The five singers that make up Pentatonix, who have been singing together since high school, harmonized to perfection. They even threw in a little beatboxing courtesy of bass aficionados Kevin and Avi.

Oh my Lord I am so excited to have won the Grammy with Pentatonix on my old song Jolene. I am so happy and am so very…

Posted by Dolly Parton on Monday, February 13, 2017

Dolly’s voice, the icing on the country music cake, way-marked the song spectacularly.

Dolly has sung this song with other artists in the past, including Katy Perry and her very own goddaughter Miley Cyrus. This version, however, lifted “Jolene” into a different genre entirely.

Fans were vocal. “It doesn’t matter if you’re into house music, rap, or indie,” wrote one YouTube user; “when Jolene comes on, everybody’s country.”

“Jolene is now officially immortal!” exclaimed another (as if it wasn’t already!), while a super fan added, “Dolly Parton is a living legend. So fun to watch her perform with a group that rose to fame through viral internet videos,” they shared. “It’s like watching the past and the future collide.”

If you had any doubts as to whether or not Dolly Parton is a complete sweetheart, then you’ll need no more convincing than her reaction at the end of the take! Grinning broadly and giggling with her fellow singers, Dolly extends her hands and high-fives Kirstin to her right and Scott to her left.

It’s a heartwarming moment.

Pentatonix took to Twitter to call the recording with Dolly a “dream come true.” The sweet, humble country star retorted, “Singing with @PTXofficial was pure magic.”

And it sure is. Jolene’s reimagining is a beautiful rendition of a classic hit made new and immortalized forever.

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